A 63-year-old from Toothill has been taking social distancing to the extreme with his hobby.

Dave Rootes is a keen amateur radio enthusiast and he’s been using his equipment in his house to talk to people across the globe including the United States of America and South Africa.

And he believes the hobby is a great way to socialise without having to leave the house.

Dave told the Adver: “Amateur radio can really help get away from the loneliness, the isolation.

“It can be a great to reach out and still be in contact with other human beings.”

Dave has always been interested in amateur radio but since his wife Susan died almost two years ago he has been using the airwaves to make new friends in different countries.

He added: “I’ve got a machine that helps me breathe at night, a ventilator, so I’m on the 12 week lock-down.

“I’m a recent widower, 18 months ago my wife died," he said. “If you can imagine, you’re now stuck in your house, it’s only 18 months since your wife passed away, you’re almost crawling up the walls within a few days.

“All the silly little things like going to Asda to get the groceries are not safe. Nobody’s said I can’t do it but it’s not safe for me.

“For the first few days I sat there watching TV and was looking at the news outlets and it makes it 10 times worse.

“I thought I’m going to have to find something else to occupy myself, to get myself out of the rut.

“I put on the Echolink programme on my computer and it was like putting a pin in the map, who am I going to talk to, whereabouts in the world?”

One of the places that Dave has been in constant communication with is a place called College Station in Texas.

There he speaks to the Texas A&M Amateur Radio Club every Wednesday.

Dave added: “It fell into this place called College Station and so I put my call sign out and anyone who hears that on amateur radio in the area can chose to reply or ignore you.

“A guy came back and we just got chatting. It snowballs.

“You find that more and more people want to talk to you. You just forget about what’s going on in the world.

“You don’t even think about the amount of deaths and all the worries and sadness that’s going on.

“It gets me out of the sad state.”

Dave has also volunteered to be a point of contact person with the Swindon Borough Council. It means he’ll be calling people up, chatting and making sure those in need are being looked after.